The UConn women’s soccer team defeated Seton Hall on Thursday, Sept. 30 by a scoreline of 2-1 to snap their two-game losing streak. Nevertheless, their celebrations would be cut short by a fiery Butler squad, who hosted the Huskies (5-5-0, 1-2-0 Big East) at the Bud and Jackie Sellick Bowl, and defeated them by a scoreline of 0-3.
UConn returns to an overall record of .500 after splitting both matches, and now sits in seventh in the Big East table. On the other hand, the Pirates (6-6-0, 1-3-0 Big East) are now winless in four out of their past five matches, and sit in eight in the table. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs’ (10-1-1, 3-0-1 Big East ) victory means they have now won 10 of their last 11 matches to maintain a firm grip on first place in the standings.
The victory by Margaret Rodriguez’s squad on Thursday marked the 13th time the Huskies had defeated Seton Hall in the all-time series between both schools, with the Pirates yet to ever defeat UConn in women’s soccer.
Kaitlyn Mahoney lined up in goal for the Huskies, while the defence consisted of Chloe Landers, Evelyn Arsenault and Jackie Harnett. Sofia Weber, Lucy Cappadona, Jessica Mazo, Emma Zaccagnini and Cara Jordan made up the midfield, while Jaydah Bedoya and Isabelle Lynch served as the forward partnership.
Bedoya got UConn off to a strong start, as she was able to test Pirate goalkeeper Gordon Grace twice in the opening 12 minutes of the contest. This would be a sign of things to come for the Huskies, who would build off of these chances and continue to look to find the killer blow. Arsenault and Adebayo would again test the goalkeeper in the 18th and 20th minutes, respectively, but Grace stood her ground and kept the match scoreless.
Finally, in the 22nd minute of the match, Bedoya was able to sneak it past Grace to put UConn on the board; substitute forward Halle Palmedo found the sophomore forward in a goal scoring position. Bedoya received the ball, and placed it into the back of the net for the 1-0 advantage.
The Huskies’ opening goal would actually prove to be more beneficial to the Pirates than to UConn, as it seemed to wake up a team that had been asleep for the opening 25 minutes of the match. Seton Hall would begin combining in the Huskies final third, and would win themselves a penalty in the 29th minute, a mere seven minutes after conceding. Freshman midfielder Cara Milne-Redhead would step up to take it, but Mahoney stood her ground and got a hand to it to keep UConn in front.
Despite the miss, the Pirates continued to apply pressure. Seton Hall would have two consecutive corner kicks in the 31st minute, with the Husky defense able to clear the ball away. Then, Milne-Redhead and defender Maille McDermott would attempt shots on-net, which were ultimately to no avail. While UConn was able to get out of the half unscathed, the momentum was most definitely on Seton Hall’s side.
This would prove to be the case as, three minutes into the second half, Pirate forward Sophie Liston found midfielder Julia Aronov, who smashed it past Mahoney to tie the game at one. After this goal, the game would become scrappy, as multiple fouls were called on each team. The ugly nature of the game throughout the second half made itself evident in the fact that both teams found it difficult to make it into the opponent’s final third, as the battle for the ball mostly took place in the midfield.
Rodriguez knew she had to make changes, and she did. The Husky head coach brought in forward Duda Santin in the 66th minute and midfielder Joyce Ryder in the 85th minute. Ryder would then play a dangerous ball in the direction of Santin, who took it under her control and slid it past Grace to give the Huskies the late 2-1 advantage.
While this should have completely shifted the momentum in UConn’s direction, Seton Hall would still have one more opportunity to take the match into overtime. Midfielder Emma Ramsay found space and took a shot that was headed into the bottom corner had it not been for the outstretched hand of Mahoney, who kept the ball out of the net to ensure that UConn would come out on top.
The Huskies lined up against the Bulldogs with Mahoney in goal, and a backline that consisted of Landers, Arsenault and Harnett. Weber, Cappadona, Mazo and Zaccagnini made up the midfield, while Palmedo, Bedoya and Lynch were the forward trio.
The contest was marked with frustration from the Huskies’ point of view, as they simply could not get themselves going offensively. UConn only had two shots on-target in the whole half courtesy of Jada Konte; Rodriguez would make a variety of changes throughout the first 45 to address this issue, but nothing seemed to change.
On the other hand, Butler thrived on the attack. Midfielder Katie Soderstrom tested Mahoney early on in the contest, as her shot was bound for the bottom left corner had it not been for the outstretched arms of the Husky goalkeeper. The Bulldogs would continue to dominate possession in UConn’s final third, and would finally find a way through in the 27th minute; Soderstom found midfielder Becky Dean, who placed it into the back of the net to give Butler the 1-0 advantage.
The second half would be more of the same for the Huskies, who simply could not cope with the pressure from Butler. This became evident five minutes into the half, when forward Alli Leonard found fellow forward Abigail Isger, who doubled Butler’s lead.
UConn looked to get back into the contest, but simply could not build a rhythm in attack. In fact, the squad failed to get a shot on target for the entirety of the half. Combine this with the Bulldogs’ pressure, and a third goal was inevitable. Leonard would find Soderstrom, who smashed it past Mahoney to kill off any chance of a comeback, and gave Butler the 3-0 victory.
Seton Hall now gets set to face DePaul on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. at the Owen T. Carroll Field, while Butler will look to get their 11th win of the season against Georgetown on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. at Shaw Field.
Finally, the Huskies return to action on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. when they take on Marquette at the Joseph J. Morrone Stadium. The Golden Eagles have won their past three consecutive games, and will make life tough for a UConn team that looks to build some consistency in conference play.